Why do we laugh at comedies? What’s so funny about them? Do we learn from comedies, or are they merely entertaining diversions?
We’ll trace the development of Western comedy tradition from the raucous “Old Comedy” of the ancient Greeks and the romantic “New Comedy” of the ancient Romans; through Shakespeare, Molière, Wilde and Shaw; to the anarchic antics of the Marx Brothers. Making ample use of video resources, we’ll explore how plots recur throughout the ages, as do comic characters, themes and language, giving us a sense of how tradition has continued to thrive. Find out what our wonderful Western comedies have in common, and how they educate us and make us laugh at the same time.
Note: Offered in fall 2007 as A Funny Thing Happened…: A Brief History of Western Comedy.
Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.